Thursday, January 24, 2008

Race Realities Has A Class of Its Own

A good number of fair minded folks that I know believe that Obama's campaign has skillfully kept race out of this year's political race.

I would respectfully disagree. They have exploited race to their advantage (if your objective is to win I would do the same).

If it is a tight race to the wire then I would see them using the race card even more. Do you really believe there is that much of a difference between Obama & Clinton? Obama's political hacks are Clinton administration veterans and his policy stance is not THAT much different from Hillary's. But race is one vector of differentiation that is easy to exploit.

Here are some excerpts from the Jan 22, 2008 edition of Wall Street Journal piece entitled Obama's Bid Turns Focus On Class Split Among Blacks. Just amazing that in day and age folks think this way!

'Mr. Obama rarely discusses race on the campaign trail though he occasionally talks about seeing teenagers in Chicago hanging out on street corners who "look like me." His policy prescriptions for the inner city are similar to those of former Sen. John Edwards and Mrs. Clinton, including more money for jobs and education and reforming the criminal-justice system to eliminate the discrepancy in sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine, used more by blacks, and powdered cocaine, used more by whites.'

'Even as Mr. Obama is promising to bring America together, his candidacy is casting new light on the mounting class divide in the black community -- and the debate among blacks about how to get ahead. The expanding black middle class -- accounting for about 40% of the black population -- see in Mr. Obama a validation of the choices they have made: attending largely white colleges, working in predominantly white companies and government offices, climbing up the ladder of American success.

For African-Americans living in the inner city -- where most children are being raised by single mothers, male unemployment in some cities tops 50% and 40% of young black men are either in jail, awaiting trial or on probation -- the view of Mr. Obama is much more skeptical. Black teenagers mock Mr. Obama as a "Halfrican" and a "50-percenter" for his biracial background; his mother is white, his Kenyan-born father was black. A recent special on Mr. Obama on Black Entertainment Television, the most popular station among inner-city blacks, was titled, "Obama: What's in It for Us?" '

'Many of the features that whites find most appealing about Mr. Obama -- his mixed-race background, cosmopolitan upbringing, the ease with which he moves among whites -- stir unease among some blacks. The debate among blacks about Mr. Obama has become unusually intimate, including discussions about the color of his wife's skin.'

'Mr. Obama's candidacy comes amid an intensifying argument in the black community about what it means to be black in America and how blacks succeed. A survey this past fall by Pew Research found that 60% of blacks say the values of poor and middle-class blacks have grown more dissimilar over the past decade -- with "values" defined as "things that people view as important or their general way of thinking." Almost 40% of blacks say that the values of poor and middle-class blacks have diverged so much that blacks can no longer be thought of as a single race. Middle class is commonly defined as households making between $40,000 and $100,000 a year'

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